Blue River Technology employs computer vision and robotics technologies to build intelligent solutions for the agricultural industries. With breakthrough computer vision techniques for identifying weeds and selectively killing unwanted plants, Blue River Technology’s equipment is significantly more efficient than traditional methods of weed elimination. Its automated solution is particularly well suited to organic agriculture and for fields with chemical-resistant weeds.
In his own words
Founder/CEO, Jorge Heraud
Challenging our assumptions
[KV] helped us refine a future for the company that is challenging, ambitious and true to our mission.I was introduced to KV through a professor at Stanford. My first meeting with KV was in April 2012, and they invested in August 2012, which is fairly quick in this industry. KV’s been great at challenging and shaping our assumptions for the better. Their ideas and encouragement have made us a better company. They’ve helped us refine a future for the company that is challenging, ambitious and true to our mission. At the same time, they’ve also helped us with blocking and tackling giving us their advice on everything from recruiting and compensation to PR, banking relationships and debt.
Asking the right questions
Our first product is used in lettuce thinning. Our second product is in phenotyping. We’ve had a number of conversations about the pros and cons, where does it fit/lead, how does it leverage what we have in order to build out for the future. KV’s helped us with product extension by asking the right questions. In general, they are quite supportive of our decisions.
Attracting outstanding talent
Hiring is very important for us, and KV has been able to help us attract tremendously talented employees. I don’t think we would have ended up with the same level of talent if it weren’t for KV’s help. Vinod has been involved in interviewing for key positions. His fame in Silicon Valley is legendary and he is a great advocate of the company and its mission. Having potential employees hear directly from him why he is excited about the company is a very strong selling point for us.
Strength of operating partnership
I don’t think we would have ended up with the same level of talent if it weren’t for KV’s help.KV has phenomenal talent in their firm that is available to us. They have tremendous experience building companies that they are able to bring forth. I’ve worked with several operating partners. For example, I worked with KV to find recruiters, and on the marketing and PR side to get our story out. Another example: Sven is a phenomenal scientist with a strong background in computing, systems engineering and sensors among other things and has been a very helpful partner when thinking about some of the problems we face. For instance, Sven was a really good resource to have when designing our imaging system, selecting illumination, cameras and protocols.
Bringing resources to bear
KV is really well connected to so many companies from startups and entrepreneurs to those providing services for startups. They do a phenomenal job bringing these resources to bear. It’s mind-boggling how interested they are in the future of the world and, in particular for us, the future of agriculture. You would think, “Gee, what would VCs in Silicon Valley really know about agriculture?” It turns out Vinod and KV know a lot, their opinions are very well informed and they have tremendous contacts in this area that they are able to pull in to benefit my company.